Conor Lovett Towers at Hudson Hall – The Millbrook Independent

Conor Lovett

by Kevin T. McEneaney

The Beckett Trilogy (dramatic monologue from the novels Molly, malone diesand the Unspeakable) played by Irish actor Conor Lovett will convince you that Samuel Beckett was (and remains) the greatest writer of the 20th century. With Maximal Minimalism, the only props used on stage were a knit hat malone dies and a spotlight for The Unspeakable.

Molloy offers a tour de force satire on many levels of society by a retarded simpleton who is smarter than the people who arrest, abuse, and torment him his entire life; the language is often scabrous and obscene, but quite funny. Beckett isn’t just fun; he is quite giggling when you hear his satirical jokes. malone dies provides a mediation on death that offers fantastical allegories on the idiocy of heaven and hell mythology, as well as the ridicule of Christianity, patriotism, Rene Descartes and any other philosopher you want to name. All recent French philosophers dodge Beckett (with the exception of the Bulgarian Julia Kristeva).

Lovett sat in the audience like he was everyone else, then walked up the steps to the stage and started. His performance has a touch of clowning in it Molloymore than a pinch of the sad bag gone maniacal and mad in malone diesand the prophet whose wisdom is useless in The Unspeakable. The backward and hesitant rationality becomes a lever for the triumph of the absurd. In addition to the philosophical puzzles, there’s the slap-stick: gossipy stories seem to go nowhere, even arguing viewpoints that seem impossible, but from them, the wicked humor hits you from the back like a club. and the skull like an axe. Contradictions feed a dialectic of oblique affirmation or deep irony.

The use of an encapsulating spotlight shadow, more than twice the size of the actor, in the nameless has clues that the shadow of their past is a sarcophagus, or that someone forgets more of their life than they can remember, or that the shadow of ourselves overwhelms who we are. Beckett’s vocabulary is often simple, yet we realize that simplicity conveys irony, doubt or powerlessness to communicate anything.

Not only is Lovett fascinating, he is also hypnotic, even in the prolonged silences and unexpected pauses from which he magically extracts tremendous dramatic tension; he uses mime to the maximum effect; he has a wonderful countertenor voice. Led by his wife Judy (whose doctoral dissertation focused on directing Beckett’s work), Conor has performed Beckett in solo shows since 1966, performing around the world. (Yes, he has worked on television and in many films.)

This performance lasts nearly three full hours, but it feels like half that time. Conor received two long rounds of applause, the second being a standing ovation. The Friday night show was sold out and I imagine Saturday could be the same. Hudson Hall has recently offered a wide repertoire of high caliber events. You can check out the Hudson Hall at Hudson website at:

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